What to see in Bologna: Piazza Maggiore

Going back to our steps along the Via dell’Archiginnasio we enter in Piazza Maggiore, simply ‘the square’ for the people from Bologna, surrounded by the most important buildings in the medieval city. The most ancient one is the Podestà Palace, surmounted by the Arengo Tower.

The most ancient is Palazzo del Podestà surmounted by the Arengo tower, located near Palazzo Re Enzo under which its vault opens up for pedestrian crossing. It is right here that we suggest you to stop to have a little game. Under the vault you can play “Chinese Whispers”. One needs to whisper something in a corner, and the person on the opposite corner will hear him/her!

Finally you cannot leave the square without visiting our Cathedral, San Petronio dedicated to the city’s Patron Saint. The Church was built in 1390 and however it has not been completed it still remains one of biggest churches in Europe. Inside the cathedral, you will see wonderful frescoes and imponent vaults, the biggest sundial of the world and two of the most ancient pipe organs in Italy. It is free of charges to visit the Cathedral but there is a €2,00 fee if you would like to take pictures and videos.Cathedral but there is a €2,00 fee if you would like to take pictures and videos.

Behind the cathedral, in Galvani square, you can have behind the cathedral, in Galvani square, you can have access to the roof terrace where you can see Bologna from a 54 metres height. To ride up there is an elevator that will take you directly on the terrace. The ticket for the entrance is €3,00.


Near the square, we find the Nettuno Fountain, one of the symbols of the city, work of the famous Flemish sculptore Giambologna. Before going back home, I sugget to go back in time, the time of the ancient Bononia, by entering the Sala Borsa. In 800′ it was the centre of the economical life, today is one of the most important cultural places with its rich multimedial library. In the centre of the structure, on the floor, right under the visitors’ feet, a crystal floor exhibits the origins of the city. Here you can have a coffee looking at the art decò cielings and the archaeological findings on which the city rises today.


Cathedral opening hour: Monday – Friday: 07:45am/1:30pm – 2:30pm/6:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 07:45am/6:30pm
 Terrace opening hour: Monday – Thursday: elevator every 20 minutes from 11:00am to 1:00pm (last elevator at 12:40pm) and from 3:00pm to 6:00pm (last elevator 5:40pm)

Friday, Saturday and Sunday: elevator every 20 minutes from 10:00am to 1:00pm( last elevator at 12:40pm) and from 2:30pm to 6:00pm (last elevator 5:40pm)

The centre of Bologna is right here and our apartments are just few steps away!

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What to see in Bologna: the Quadrilatero Area, The Pavaglione and the Archigymnasium

From  piazza Santo Stefano we get inside the Quadrilatero area an area of artigianal ancient tradition, commercial and mercantile, that had its most development in the Middle Age.

This is the place where the principal corporations of professions in the city.

At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, the heart of the Quadrilatero has become the centre of sales activities, in the Middle Age, that were then spread mostly in the narrow road so called Mercato di Mezzo, that later become the reconstruction of Via Rizzoli.

In this area you will find, in particular, jewelry stores, butchers, fruit and vegetable’s stands, bakeries, typical gastronomical stores, and other artisan’s and commercial activities of a long tradition.

Exiting the Quadrilatero, along the street near San Petronio (Archygimnasium road) under the portico of Pavaglione, you will see the Archygimnasium  Palace, headquarter of the original and most ancient University in the East, founded in 1088.

Here it is worth to see the Anatomic Theatre the antique classroom where students attended anatomic lessons. Here the bodies were placed on the table in the middle of the room, while a priest from the Inquisition controlled from a small window with a grate that the limits imposed by religion were not exceeded.

The canopy of the desk is supported by two wooden statues, realised in 1734, by the famous sculpturist and anatomist Ercole Lelli. These very statues were called “The Skinned” because they represented the inside of a male body.

Opening hours:

Monday-Friday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Saturday: 10:00am – 7:00pm

Sunday and holidays: 10:00am – 2:00pm

The ticket office closes 15 minutes before the Theatre.
Ticket: €3,00

Do you want to find out these and other marvels of Bologna’s centre? Our apartments are few steps away!

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What to see in Bologna: San Luca

After exploring the city and its most iconic places, such a The Two Towers and Piazza Maggiore, we can have a walk outside the walls.

We get to Porta Saragozza, where you can find the longest portico in the world ( 3.796 meters) that connect the city to the Sanctuary of San Luca. 

The original legends recount that the spring in 400 was so rainy that people in Bologna entrusted themselves to Queen Mary, bringing the icon of Madonna and Child, kept in Custody in the Sanctuary. As soon the icon has entered into city the rain stopped. From that episode on, every year the parade is repited, starting from the Sanctuary until the city, and the more the year passed by, from 1674 to 1721, it has been decided to build a portico to protect the worshippers from the rain during the parade.

The Portico contains totally 666 arches, not by chance the devil’s number: the longest portico in the world would in fact represent the snake, the evil, that gets eclipsed by the beauty and the strenght of the Sanctuary, and the Madonna. 

The Sanctuary of San Luca, whose dominant style is baroque, is set up on top of Colle della Guardia (approximately 300 metres high) it is dedicated to the Catholic Marian movement. You can already notice its profile when you are in proximity to Bologna, when one is still traveling on the highway. For the people from Bologna is in fact a reference point, it is the awareness to already be at home. 

What to see in Bologna: Finestrella di Via Piella

Let’s continue our trip at the discovery of the marvelous spots of Bologna, with a small curiosity.

Walking along Via Indipendenza, before the crossing over with Via Marsala, we get to the portico of Via Piella. 

On the right we find a small window that opens up on a unexpected Bologna, the one with the where its water flow underground, which -up until two centuries
ago- they were uncovered channels.
Looking through the small window the channel that flows between the coloured windows, enables one to live in a Venetian foreshortening.

The channel is the continuum of one of the main channels in Bologna, the Reno channel, at the entrance the city splits in two branches: the Cavaticcio’s channel and Moline’s channel.

In the medieval Bologna the channels were very important for communications and some of them were also navigable.

The Moline Channel at the time was utilised to produce the necessary energy to plump 15 water mills.

From the beginning of Nineteenth Century and the Post war Period most of the channels got buried: the small window gives us an idea of the ancient Bologna.

Would you like to stay in Bologna, just few steps away from the Finestrella ? Book with us!

What to see in Bologna: Pincio’s Staircase and Montagnola Fountain

Pincio’s Staircase and Montagnola Fountain

Ourtrip at the discovery of Bologna begins only few steps away from the apartment, where you can admire the monumental “Scalinata del Pincio”.

The 28th June 1986 King Umberto I and the queen Margherita celebrated, in front of the an overwhelming crowd,the scenographic staircase that makes the access possible to the Montagnola Park.

This staircase was ideated by Tito Azzolini and Attilio Muggia. The construction began in 1893 by order of the Mayor Dallomo and continued for three years afterwards, without interruptions, taking on average 100-150 workers per day. The terrain that had been digged was necessary to fill the pit between Porta S.Isaia and Porta Lame.

Pincio Staircase – Bologna Mountain

Overall, the work was composed of three parts: the staircaise is decorated with approximately 70 chandelieres, the portico on Via Indipendenza, and the structure of portici along the walls.

Central body is composed of two separated fronts, displaying on top a panoramic terrace which is only accessible from the lateral stairs.

The principal front is decorated by two bas-reliefs: the Arturo Colombarini ‘Bologna Docet‘ and the Ettore Sabbioni ‘Bologna Libertas‘. Centre is adorned by a fountain, created by Diego Sarti and Pietro Veronesi, on Muggia’s and Azzolini’s drawing.

Our sculpture works around a classical theme, although he does not leave anything to perception that can be related to noble morality. Instead he focuses on the evident sensuality of the nymph who is attempting to save herself from an octopus’ tentacles.

A seahorse comes to her aid, which with his passion and strenght succeeds in saving her. This work of art is the maximum achievement of a 100 years of local school, starting from work of plaster and mud, to bronze and marble. This represents the phenomenon of progress relative to Bologna and to the Unification of Italy.

Sarti places a highly-senxual image in a public place, something that had not happen since the good old times of the prosperous mermaids of the Neptune Fountain in the Sixteenth Century. It will be further vulgarly called ‘the Giant’s wife’, namely the Neptune, and Giosue Carducci will dedicate to her a famous sonnet.

The name derives from the famous roman hill called Pinciano, and also called Pincio. It offers a beautiful view over the city, and the antiquity has been replaced by houses and gardens. After the unification of Italy, we assist to the arrival of many parks spread all over the Country that take the name of the Pincio in honour of the capital.

In fact, such as the Roman Pincio, these parks offer a panoramic terrace from which one can access through a monumental staircase.

If you’re looking for a place to stay near in Bologna, and near pincio’s Staircase, book it now!

Continue our trip in Bologna in the next stop: Finestrella di Via Piella also known as “Little Venice

Pincio’s Staircase and Montagnola Fountain